:: Monday, May 03, 2004 ::

ORIGINAL POST: Wed Apr 07, 03:36:06 PM
BY: Eduardo Navas

A personal blog I visit quite often is MTAA RR. Unlike most personal blogs that do not give any real incentive for users to engage in the writing (often due to narcissism), Mark and T. Whid (aka MTAA) have produced a blog that is idiosyncratic and playful, while also offering a high level of skepticism. In order words, their unconventional posts often have an underlying critical position worth respecting.

A post that caught my attention for the last couple of days deals with their latest performance piece combining binging and drawing in one: Drinkin' and Drawin' Championship. As the photographs show, lots of people participated, but leave it to the net artists to pull one of their own. Neil Jenkins, NAR's correspondent and Furtherfield.org's collaborator, was also able to participate all the way from Bristol, UK by e-mailing his own drawing of a fish. As Neil's online participation shows, even in an event like this one, making the most of networking can be taken quite literally.

ORIGINAL POST: Fri Apr 23, 06:27:35 PM
BY: Garrett Lynch

A work I stumbled across the other day that I thought was interesting in its presentation was CodeTalk, a full screen flash projector by Bjørn Wangen, with action scripting by Hugo Wetterberg.

The work uses "news headlines from different sources on the web" as its input and the voice of two characters who converse in a bar, initially around the topic of ordering a cognac; the conversation then rapidly degenerates into a communication breakdown with references about current affairs and a final resolve.

"A man in a bar asks for a cognac. The waitress doesn't seem to understand. The man says he wants French brandy. The waitress asks if French fries will do. This quite silly joke starts the loop, which randomly picks out words and replaces them with words from news headlines on the web. The conversation becomes more and more absurd and/or affected by the words from the headlines and is eventually brought to an abrupt end. A mouse click scrambles the words and the conversation starts over. Any possible meaning derived from the combinations of words is coincidental."

While there are many works out there that use information on the net as their input, they also situate themselves within the framework of the network by being physically (or virtually) framed by the browser and/or by employing motifs of internet culture such as loading messages or spinning/circling/rotating icons signifying the arrival of data. CodeTalk uses none of the above. It presents itself almost as a full-screen movie; and yet it is obviously not a movie because the content is so current. With a fast, automated internet connection, no indication of connecting across a network is given, so the work seems to almost magically pull this text from out of the air.

Being heavily dependent on the network while being visually independent of it is what makes this piece interesting as project or experiment.

ORIGINAL POST: Wed Apr 21, 10:54:26 AM
BY: Eduardo Navas

Are you feeling nostalgic for some good old arcade games? How about Asteroids? Now you can play a shockwave version of Asteroids created by Jim Andrews. Asteroids 2.6 appropriates the game, but, instead of graphics in the shape of asteroids and spaceships, we get text in different colors. Your ship could be called "persephone" and the space rocks are terms ranging from "at the moment" to "photography becomes insubstantial." The texts are actually written by Christina McPhee and Helen Thorington.

The only criticism I have is about the sound, which consists of exclamations by people in pain or in awe; while this makes sense conceptually, it is not effective in real practice because it ends up sounding a bit forced. In other words, this aesthetic appears to be trying too hard.